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Studies on the foraging of subterranean termites
2000 - IRG/WP 00-10345
To study the foraging galleries of subterranean termites in soil, early researchers painstakingly excavated underground tunneling system of these cryptic insects. Erhorn (1934) listed a report by Oahu Sugar Co., Ltd. in 1928 showing that runway of Coptotermes formosanus may extend up to 50 m long and 0.3 - 3 m deep. Ratcliffe & Greaves (1940) who excavated foraging galleries of Coptotermes lacteus indicated that the tunneling system may cover ca. 1.5 acres and extend ca. 50 m from the mound. Similar excavation study by Greaves (1962) showed that tunneling system of Coptotermes acinaciformis may extend 50 m from the mound and covered ca. 0.4 acres. King & Spink (1969) conducted similar excavation in N. America for C. formosanus and reported that the 5 - 117 cm deep galleries may extend over 140 m and cover ca. 1.4 acres. These studies enabled us to visualize the underground gallery system of subterranean termites, but the destructive sampling methods also rendered the field colonies useless for further studies. Two indirect sampling techniques were developed simultaneously for studies of foraging behavior of subterranean termites in the early 1970s. La Fage et al. (1973) used toilet paper rolls placed on soil surface to study the spatial distribution of surface foraging behavior of Heterotermes aureus and Gnathamitermes perplexus. Tamashiro et al. (1973) developed an on-the-ground monitoring station for C. formosanus. The station and trapping system provided unprecedented access to the underground populations of subterranean termites. This system was adopted for termite population studies with the mark-recapture method (Lai 1977) and for studying movement of foragers (Su et al. 1984). It also was used as a port of entry for applying control agents such as microbes (Lai 1977) or slow-acting toxicants (Su et al. 1991). Monitoring stations derived from the method of Tamashiro et al. (1973) have been used to study populations of subterranean termites under different environments (Su and Scheffrahn 1986, Grace 1989), and were essential in the development of baits for population control of subterranean termites. Due to the availability of termite bait products for pest control industry in recent years, there have been renewed interests in studies of foraging behavior of subterranean termites. We used artificial foraging arenas to study the spatial configuration of termite tunneling system in the laboratory. Our results showed that C. formosanus generally built wider and shorter tunnels than Reticulitermes flavipes, and the presence of wood in the arena did not significantly affected affect termite tunneling.
N-Y Su


Evaluation of two populations of Reticulitermes santonensis De Feytaud (Isoptera) by triple mark-recapture procedure
1997 - IRG/WP 97-10237
The optimisation and use of biocides is linked to the improvement in our understanding of the target organism. With this in mind we have studied 2 populations of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis De Feytaud. The first inhabiting an urban territory, the trees lining Ave. Boutroux in Paris. The colony has been estimated at 1,200,000 +/- 130,000 insects by triple mark-recapture procedure, foraging a surface of 1080 m2. The area containing visible damages in the trees is of 2,100 m2. The greatest distance covered by an individual is 65 m in 18 days. The second is a field population at Fondette near Tours. The zone studied is of 2,500 m2, the colony being estimated at 230,000 +/- 14,000 insects, foraging a surface of 145 m2. The greatest distance covered by an individual is 40 m in 13 days. This study shows that a termite worker can cover a considerable distance in a short time and that the colonies themselves seem to move within a zone that they cannot totally exploit permanently.
I Paulmier, B Vauchot, A-M Pruvost, C Lohou, M Tussac, M Jéquel, J-L Leca, J-L Clément


Termite physical barriers: Update on retrofitting Granitgard around 'mock-up' buildings after three years
1995 - IRG/WP 95-10118
This field experiment was installed three years ago (March 1992) to evaluate the effectiveness of Granitgard, the commercial name of a grade of crushed granite aggregate or "screenings", as a physical termite barrier when retrofitted around 'mock-up' buildings. The field site is located at Walpeup in the semi-arid mallee region of north-west Victoria (360 km from Melbourne), and there are at least eight common indigenous subterranean termite species at the site. This paper describes the results of the field evaluation after three years in test using Granitgard as a retrofitted termite physical barrier. We discuss these findings and their implications in the protection of timber structures in areas in which there are naturally foraging populations of subterranean termites.
B M Ahmed, J R J French


Termite physical barriers: Update on retrofitting Granitgard around 'mock up' buildings after four years
1996 - IRG/WP 96-10140
This field experiment was installed four years ago (March 1992) to evaluate the effectiveness of graded crushed granite stone, commercially marketed under the name, Granitgard, as a physical termite barrier when retrofitted around 'mock-up' buildings. The field site is located at Walpeup in the semi-arid mallee region of north-west Victoria (360 km from Melbourne), and there are eight common indigenous subterranean termite species at the site. This paper describes the results of the field evaluation after four years in test using Granitgard as a retrofitted termite physical barrier. No termites penetrated the Granitgard barriers, with and without chlorpyrifos treatments. We discuss these findings and their implications in the protection of timber structures in areas in which there are naturally foraging populations of subterranean termites.
B M Ahmed, J R J French


Depth of foraging of subterranean termites in tropical Australia
1996 - IRG/WP 96-10141
Stakes of radiata pine (Pinus radiata D.Don) of varying lengths to 800 mm were inserted vertically in the soil with all but their lower 100 mm sheathed in a capped UPVC tube representing a physical barrier to termites. In one series of trials, termites were encouraged to aggregate at the upper ends of the tubes, in order to determine whether they would descend to the lower end of the barrier. In a second trial stakes were relatively isolated and inserted with minimum soil disturbance. In both trials all barrier lengths, namely 300, 400, 500, 600 & 700 mm failed to prevent termite attack on the lower ends of the stakes. Mastotermes darwiniensis Froggatt, Coptotermes acinaciformis (Froggatt), Schedorhinotermes breinli (Hill), Schedorhinotermes actuosus (Hill), Heterotermes validus Hill and Heterotermes vagus (Hill) all attacked stakes at a depth between 700 & 800 mm. This factor should be taken into account when considering the design of protective barriers, whether chemical or physical, for buildings or other timber in service.
L R Miller, M Hoschke, M Neal


Comparison of various types of bait containers designed to aggregate large numbers of foraging subterranean termites from natural populations in below-ground mound colonies
1995 - IRG/WP 95-10116
At Walpeup in the semi-arid mallee country of north-west Victoria (350 km from Melbourne), there are several indigenous subterranean termite species, none of which build above-ground mound colonies but build their colonies below-ground and/or in trees. This paper describes a baiting experiment in which three types of bait containers were compared in their ability to aggregate large numbers of foraging subterranean termites of the Coptotermes species. These species were targeted as they are considered the most economically important termite "pests" of wood and wood products in Australia. The area was pre-baited with radiata pine timbers that were buried just below the surface of the soil and located around trees and vegetation that were infested with Coptotermes species. After foraging termites had located and attacked the pre-baits, the various types of bait containers were installed on top of the infested pre-bait material. Bait containers were removed after five weeks and each was replaced by fresh bait containers. This occurred three times. All bait containers were transported to our laboratory in Melbourne and the mass of aggregated termites in each container weighed and wood consumption estimated. Bait containers that were half buried in the ground and covered with large plastic sheets and soil proved the most "attractive" of the various containers used in this field experiment. Also, the wood consumption rates of the two Coptotermes species collected from the field were compared in laboratory bioassays.
J R J French, B M Ahmed


Subterranean termite foraging behaviour and the development of baiting methods used for termite control by the Division of Forest Products
1994 - IRG/WP 94-10058
Given the premise that alternatives to current subterranean termite control measures using organochlorine insecticides and arsenic trioxide have been actively researched by our Division for over ten years, emphasis on baiting methods in controlling these termites has been a major facet of our research. Recently, the new Australian Standard (AS 3660 -1993) was released which outlined the use of physical barriers (Granitgard and Termi-Mesh) as alternatives to soil chemical barriers. However, baiting methods have as yet not been incorporated into the standard. This paper describes the development of baiting techniques in laboratory and field experiments designed over the years to complement, and substitute for, the current soil chemical barrier approach. The goal is to bait or aggregate termites to a point source. In this situation, the termites may be fed bait toxicants that act as slow-acting stomach poisons, or dusted with toxicants that have a similar mode of action. The outcome is to affect colony destruction. Suggestions are offered to indicate the advantages of baiting techniques over soil chemical barriers. Furthermore, such techniques are used to rapidly evaluate potential termiticides and refine future termite control for the pest control industry.
J R J French, J W Creffield, B M Ahmed


The role of toilet paper in studies of desert subterranean termites in Arizona, USA
2000 - IRG/WP 00-10375
Toilet paper rolls were used as a substrate for observing foraging activity of Heterotermes aureus (Snyder) and Gnathamitermes perplexus (Banks) in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Foraging was minimal during the winter months, increased in the spring, was high but erratic in the summer, and then was moderate again in the fall. H. aureus foraged within a temperature range of 7.6° to 47°C, G. perplexus foraged within a range of 9° to 49°C. Temperature had the greatest influence on the number of foragers appearing at the soil surface. Rainfall (and resulting soil moisture) greatly affected foraging in the summer. Density of H. aureus foragers was estimated to be 4.31 x 106, while the density of G. perplexus was about twice that of H. aureus. Density of H. aureus colonies was ca. 190.4 colonies/hectare with an average of 22,632 foragers/colony and an average foraging territory of 12.5m2. Together, these two species transported soil to the soil surface at a combined rate of 744.2kg/hectare/year. Both species brought up soil richer in clay and added significant quantities of organic carbon, nitrogen, PO4, Na, Mg, and soluable salts, while H. aureus alone increased soil K.
M I Haverty


Protection for whole-of-house timbers from subterranean termites in Australia
2005 - IRG/WP 05-20315
A field study was designed to increase maximum protection of whole-of-house timbers against subterranean termites. Concrete slab and suspended floor simulated houses were constructed using untreated and treated (slow acting toxicants) timber frames. The treated and untreated timber structures within the simulated houses were exposed with or without soil chemical and/or physical barriers in the field. Although many termite species are known to be present in this field site, the five major economic termite species found attacking either trees, the bait stations or the structural timbers were: Coptotermes spp.; Heterotermes spp., Nasutitermes spp., Schedorhinotermes spp., and Mastotermes spp. The study explores termite foraging behaviour and the termiticidal efficacy of various termite control measures used to prevent termite attack and damage of the simulated houses under natural field conditions.
B M Ahmed, J R J French, P Vinden, P Blackwell, J Hann


Foraging patterns of termite species in the living complexes of Bangkanoon forest plantation, Phuket province, Southern Thailand
2003 - IRG/WP 03-10481
Studies on foraging patterns of termite species in the living complexes of Bankanoon Forest Plantation, Phuket Province, southern Thailand, gave result of 11 species of subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi, Microtermes obesi, Macrotermes gilvus, Macrotermes carbonarius, Macrotermes anandalei, Odontotermes feae, Odontotermes proformosanus, Hypotermes makhamensis, Globitermes sulphureus, Microcerotermes crassus and Nasutitermes matangensiformis) and 1 species of drywood termite (Cryptotermes thailandis). The foraging patterns at different season of the year in building construction on soil surface and at the depth of 15 cm., 30 cm., 45 cm., 60 cm., and 90 cm. under soil surface were discussed in details. Coptotermes gestroi was the most destructive species attacking wooden components within the living complexes while, Cryptotermes thailandis and Macrotermes gilvus are minor house infestry termites in this area.
Y Sornnuwat, C Vongkaluang, S Chutibhapakorn


The effect of high and low boron soils on foraging termite behaviour and their metabolic systems
2007 - IRG/WP 07-10602
The highest concentrations of boron are found in ground water and soils of some of the driest climate areas (arid and semi arid regions) in the world. This present study examined the various concentrations of boron levels on filter papers against the subterranean termite species Coptotermes from different provenances and different boron soil levels. The termites were presented with no-choice bioassays and their behaviour to the effects of high and low boron levels were observed. The results indicated that high boron soils affect termite immune systems and we discuss how this ability may affect the use of boron in timber protection.
B M Ahmed, J R J French, P Vinden


Foraging Behavior of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Response
2007 - IRG/WP 07-10605
Foragers of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, were allowed to tunnel in two dimensional, sand filled arenas containing Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco) wafers pressure treated with disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) to an average retention of 1.77 % BAE on one side of each arena, and untreated wafers of Douglas-fir on the other side. Arenas were established both in the laboratory and in the field. Initial tunnel formation was unaffected by the presence of borate treated wood. Avoidance of borate treated wood developed after ca. 3-5 days. Termites did not avoid borate treated wood as a result of necrophobic behavior. Termite responses when the locations of the treated and untreated wafers were switched within the arenas indicated that the delayed avoidance was related to the location of the treated wood rather than to recognition of the chemical treatment.
C E Campora, J K Grace


Whole-of-house protection from subterranean termite attack and damage after four years of field exposure
2008 - IRG/WP 08-10665
This study reports the condition of the whole-of-house termite protection test in tropical Australia after four years. The study was designed to provide maximum protection to whole-of-house timbers in a natural situation posing the highest hazard from subterranean termite populations. The houses were constructed either on concrete slabs or suspended floors using untreated and treated timber framing. Termite foraging behaviour and the various termite control measures used to prevent termite attack and damage of the simulated houses were examined. Although many termite species are known to be present in this field site, the five major economic termite species found attacking either the bait stations or the structural timbers were: Coptotermes spp., Heterotermes spp., Nasutitermes spp., Schedorhinotermes spp. and Mastotermes spp. The results obtained after four years of field study suggested that an integrated pest management (IPM) approach based upon ecological knowledge of termites and minimisation of environmental impact of treatments enhanced the protection of the whole-of-house timber framing structures. This IPM approach includes adopting a mix of alternative strategies in termite control including chemical and physical barriers, combinations of treated and untreated timber framing and emphasise on building practices that are designed to build out termites and ensure whole-of-house protection of timber in buildings against termites for the reasonable life of the building.
B M Ahmed (Shiday), J R J French, S R Przewloka, P Vinden, J Hann, C Y Adam


Estimation of foraging territories of Microcerotermes diversus Silvestri (Isoptera: Termitidae) in Ahwaz (Iran)
2010 - IRG/WP 10-10744
Microcerotermes diversus Silvestri (Isoptera: Termitidae), an important wood pest in Ahwaz (Khuzestan, Iran), causes serious economic damage to wooden products in buildings. In this study, the foraging territories of this subterranean termite have been determined by mark-release-recapture technique. Estimated foraging territories for colonies A and B were 25.59 and 44.16 m2, respectively. The maximum and minimum linear foraging distances (m) were 5.40 and 2.14 for colony A and 9.14 and 1.86 for colony B, respectively. Our data extend knowledge about the biology, ecology and behavior of this termite. This information can aid us in evaluating the effectiveness of control methods, and thus can be used to improve management techniques.
B Habibpour, F Kocheili, M Ekhtelat